The role of images and empathy on pain perception

Hietbrink, Marni (2014). The role of images and empathy on pain perception Master's Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Hietbrink, Marni
Thesis Title The role of images and empathy on pain perception
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2014-10-22
Thesis type Master's Thesis
Supervisor Stephanie Hanrahan
Total pages 82
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Without doubt, many athletes experience pain as a result of participation in sport. Despite pain being widely accepted as a part of an athlete’s life, psychological research has limited knowledge on how to minimise the experience of pain for athletes. Pain has been extensively researched in a non-sporting context, and recently studies have explored the relationship between pain and empathy. Specifically, research has uncovered the powerful effect that images can have on neurological activity and the experience of pain. Taking current literature into consideration this study aimed to explore pain perception in endurance athletes (N = 19), specifically rowers, while they participated in a sport-specific pain-inducing activity. Empathy was measured using the 7-item subscale of empathetic concern and the 7-item subscale of perspective taking from the Interpersonal Reactivity Index (Davis, 1980). Each rower was randomly assigned to a pleasant, unpleasant, or control image condition, and was asked to attend to a gender-matched image (unpleasant image and pleasant image condition) or an image of a boat (control condition). Participants completed a 2km rowing ergometer while attending to the image, and were asked to rate their pain at each 500m interval. It was hypothesised that participants in the pleasant image group would report less pain than those in the control or unpleasant image groups, and that participants in the unpleasant image group would report significantly more pain than those in the control group. It was further hypothesised that scores on empathy will significantly and directionally influence pain perceptions. Results indicated a non-significant effect of image on pain; however, empathy scores did appear to influence pain perceptions, with participants who scored highly on the empathetic concern scale reporting significantly more physical pain than participants who had lower scores on the empathetic concern scale.
Keyword Pain perception

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Created: Tue, 01 Dec 2015, 01:50:55 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology